New Commission For The Arts In Kansas
UPDATE: June 1, 2012: According to Kansas Citizens for the Arts: "The Governor this morning signed the budget, which includes $700,000 for the newly-created Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission."
UPDATE: May 16, 2012: According to the Associated Press, legislators in final state budget negotiations agreed to include $700,000 for the new commission, as well as authorizing hiring three staffers. Brownback had proposed the merger, and a budget of $200,000.
The newly created commission, proposed by Governor Brownback, will be part of the state's Department of Commerce.
In 2011, Brownback eliminated the state's Arts Commission staff, and vetoed the entire budget ($689,000). As a result, the state lost an estimated $1.2 million in matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Mid-America Arts Alliance (MAAA). A private organization, the Kansas Arts Foundation, was created to raise funds for the commission. This session, the Legislature also approved an "arts check-off" on the state's income tax form allowing residents to donate to the arts.
Henry Schwaller, Chair of the Kansas Citizens for the Arts, released this statement:
"We are pleased that Governor Brownback signed the bill creating the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. The creation of the new agency has been a collaborative effort between the Governor, legislators and arts advocates, resulting in the successful passage of legislation that all Kansans can be proud of.
"This is an important step to building a stronger 21st century Kansas economy based on highly skilled, creative industry jobs. The new commission will also serve a vital role in developing creative skills in the Kansas workforce, as well as fostering entrepreneurship in all communities.
"The new commission's success relies on the approval of the $700,000 appropriation allocated by the Kansas Legislature and the hiring of qualified staff. This is necessary to create an agency that is successful in promoting the arts and restoring federal matching funds which are key to support job creation and thriving communities."